A new group has been born in Madison.
Stop Tormenting Our Peers (S.T.O.P) was created in June of 2015 and is just starting to get a hardstart on where they plan on going to end the bullying in Madison County schools.
Latonia Roberson, the group’s CEO, spoke of her 12-year-old daughter as one of the inspirations for starting the group.
Roberson’s daughter was a victim of bullying and now suffers from bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression that the bullying did absolutely nothing to help, but instead made much worse.
Roberson hopes that, through the group, awareness of the bullying problems in Madison County schools will be brought to light to teachers, parents and students so that no other mother or child has to go through what Roberson and her daughter have had to deal with.
The group is small; despite having 100 members, only 15 are active and due to being fairly new, the group is having issues getting jumpstarted.
Roberson voiced that S.T.O.P wants to be able to go into schools, churches and youth groups to speak with students about the dangers and harmful effects of bullying their peers; but until every S.T.O.P member has been certified with a background check, a validation that will cost $62 per member, they are unable to go into schools and speak.
“We have all kinds of good ideas,” Roberson said before adding that they simply lack the funds and financial backing to take themselves off the ground.
S.T.O.P hopes to eventually be able to host fun community events where the anti-bullying message can be introduced to the community as a whole and hopes to bring students on field trips and to anti-bullying seminars.
On a smaller scale, they would like to put together anti-bullying bookbags to pass out to school-aged children; a take-home reminder that bullying one another is never cool.
“We aren’t waiting, though,” Roberson said proudly, stating that S.T.O.P has held car washes and is planning a doughnut sale to raise what is needed for the background check certifications and to collect funds in order to continue their work in the communities of Madison County.
“We, the group S.T.O.P, would appreciate your time, your finances, your voice and your help. We as a community can stop bullying one person at a time,” said Roberson. “We will not give up and need support from the community.”
Those interested in learning more about S.T.O.P can do so by finding and joining the organization’s closed facebook group or by contacting Roberson at (850) 408-0099.